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My GMAT Battle: 620 – 640 – 680 – 710

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My GMAT Battle: 620 – 640 – 680 – 710 [#permalink] New post 29 Jul 2012, 09:19
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This debrief is for everyone, but I anticipate it will hit home more for the folks on this forum who are doubting themselves and are scoring well below their target scores on practice tests or the actual GMAT. Reaching my final score was an ABSOLUTE battle and I can say candidly, that it was the hardest I have ever worked at anything (No I’m not lazy). While I do consider myself to have above average intelligence and to be a sharp individual, I am NOT a natural test taker – In fact, I struggle immensely with test anxiety.

MY BACKGROUND: 26 yrs old Male. Management Consultant – Business Transformation and Financial Management. BA in Business Admin. MS in Accounting.

I have taken the real GMAT 4 times.

620 (Q39 V35) in 2008. I needed to take the GMAT to gain admission into an MS in Accounting program. I started with a diagnostic first ever GMAT of 480 grabbed the Kaplan book and self studied for a couple weeks. Honestly, I hate that this score is on my score report and I don’t consider it to be part of my true GMAT journey (the 3 GMAT attempts within the past 8 months to get ready for this year’s apps).

I began studying for the GMAT in Sept of 2011. I signed up for the MGMAT 9 week class. During my 4 months of class and self study after the class I improved my score only 50 points from a 590 diagnostic to a 640 in October. This was extremely frustrating and I’ll be honest – I had days where I felt like getting a competitive score was just not feasible and that I just didn’t have the brains to beat the test. I followed the class syllabus without deviation and did every OG problem. However, I achieved a LOWER score on my actual quant than I did on my diagnostic. HOW???

I had moments of hope at the end when I scored a 700 and 690, but the truth was I simply wasn’t mentally ready. In general, you need to hit your target score or above consistently with confidence or you wont produce the results on game day.

MY PROBLEM DURING THIS PERIOD OF STUDY: My study discipline was excellent, but I just wasn’t retaining the takeaways for my problem solving strategies and the quant weak areas. On the flipside my verbal improved drastically because I was picking up and improving the way I THOUGHT ABOUT the questions when approaching them.

My practice test scores went as follows:
- 9/14/11 – 590 (Q43 V29) - Diagnostic Test MGMAT
- 10/23/11 – 620 (Q43 V32) - MGMAT
- 11/10/11 – 640 (Q43 V34) - MGMAT
- 11/21/11 – 640 (Q43 V34) - MGMAT
- 12/05/11 – 630 (Q42 V34) - MGMAT
- 12/14/11 – 700 (Q44 V40) – MGMAT
- 12/ 17/11 – 690 (Q44 V40) – GMAT Prep I

TOOK OFFICIAL DECEMBER 2011 GMAT – 640 (Q42 V38) AWA 6

I took about a month and half off started studying again for 2 weeks starting in February and then had a debrief session with MGMAT and they advised me to push my test further because I had a trip to Costa Rica with friends in March. They forecasted that I was close to my goal, but that I needed 5 weeks from the day we had our debrief. Furthermore they encouraged me not to go on a vacation in the middle of that 5 week period. This was very frustrating because I felt like I just wasted a couple weeks of study time and would be prolonging the day I would say farewell to the test and be stress free, but I put the books on the shelf and enjoyed myself.

I started up again the last week of March 2012 and hired a tutor name Horacio Quiroga. He is a former MGMAT tutor. He was an absolute rockstar and took a personal interest in my progress. We didn’t touch verbal. I worked with him for 12 hours going over major areas he though I should focus on. I learned the proper way to think about the problems that frustrated me SO much. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING I DID WAS RESTUDYING PROBLEMS CONCEPTUALLY with him. EVERY PROBLEM WE COVERED, I WENT OVER UNTIL I UNDERSTOOD THE WAY TO APPROACH THAT PROBLEM TYPE IN GENERAL.

My practice tests were the following :

- April 2012 – 670 (Q48 V35) IR 3 – GMAT Prep I – New Software
- May 2012 – Q45 – Quant Section only GMAT Prep II New Software

At this point I had improved my quant drastically, but my main obstacle was test anxiety. Although I hadn’t hit my target score, I still felt good because I just had a bad practice in verbal. Hitting that score probably would have helped beat that anxiety though. I showed up on game day and just broke down. I landed one of the few question types I just really struggled with. It was a difficult parabola coordinate geometry question. I had never taken a practice where I missed question #1 or a real GMAT where I felt like I missed question #1. This got in my head big time because it is hammered hard in the MGMAT class that you really want to get the first question right. It shook my focus. Mid way through the section I was sweating, breaking down, and way behind schedule, which led to random guessing. I finished quant and knew I had done horrible. Thought I may have even done worse than my last GMAT. I even considered canceling my score. I went back in and was pretty relaxed because I knew it wasn’t going to be THE ONE so the pressure was off. I did very well on my verbal.

TOOK OFFICIAL MAY 2012 GMAT - 680 (Q42 V41) AWA 6

I went home very upset and booked my next GMAT for a month out. Took the week off and started studying again the next Monday. I studied the same materials I had studied previously, but used the new GMAT prep question pack as well. These questions were great for me to get daily exposure to official questions since I had exhausted all my materials. I studied less each day and relaxed more. I exercised at least a few times a week and enjoyed myself outside of studying. When I studied, I made sure that it was very productive and focused on understanding the problems I struggled with thoroughly.

My practice tests were the following:

May 2012 – 700 (Q46 V41) IR 7 – GMAT Prep I – New Software Reset
May 2012 – 730 (Q48 V41) IR 7 – GMAT Prep II – New Software Reset

OFFICIAL JUNE 2012 GMAT – 710 (Q49 V38) AWA 5.5 – IR 5

IR was a big ? – I didn’t know where I would hit there. Was really hoping for a 5 or higher and I got it (didn’t know the percentile would be so low though and I am unhappy about that). I felt pretty solid with my Quant section and knew I was doing and excellent job of ditching questions I didn’t know and tagging the ones I did, but didn’t expect a 49. My verbal experience was bad and I was quite worried to be honest. I underperformed quite badly on verbal. I got 2 extremely long passages for reading comp. I ran out of time at the end. I still stop and get frustrated knowing that if I had performed even a little better, I would have earned a 720 (at or above my schools averages). I scored a V41 on my previous GMAT and the two practice tests in the month of study. I expected a V41 or better on gameday. At the end of the day I am ok with my 700+ 80/80 split and happy that I did my very best on the quant.

MY KEY TAKEAWAYS:

- ONCE YOU CAN REALLY RELAX, YOU “PLAY” YOUR BEST. It’s just like any sport. You need the balance between sense of urgency and being relaxed to execute. Learned this from my verbal section on my May 2012 GMAT after I bombed the quant.
- UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES CAN YOU LET THE TEST MESS WITH YOUR HEAD. I learned the hard way. Tough question one, skip it and move on. It really does not matter. The thing is pretty accurate at measuring your level, so let it be.
- EVEN IF YOU KNOW YOU ARE AT THE LEVEL, HIT A SCORE AT OR ABOVE YOUR TARGET PRIOR TO GAMEDAY. It just gives you a confidence going in that is ABSOLUTELY INVALUABLE. It also alleviates test anxiety big time.
- STUDY CONCEPTUALLY – everybody says this, but I’ll reinforce. I took two GMATS without doing it and scored a 620 and 640. Sure I put in tons of time and did thousands of questions. I changed my style and scored a 680 and 710. The proof is in the scores that breaking habits and adopting a different method can work.
- IF YOU’RE CONSIDERING A GMAT CLASS, consider private tutoring with Horacio. It’s about the same cost, but you get tailored sessions that actually teach you how to approach problems the best way for you. This matters more than having a study plan and following a generalized learning schedule.
- EXERCISE. It really helps. I can’t begin to explain how much it makes you feel better on a daily basis when you’re in training. It really makes you feel more productive in general and think positively.
- STAY MOTIVATED. This sounds obvious, but it can be extremely frustrating. I know. 4 takes. The same quant score on almost every test from Sept 2011 to April 2012. Use school websites to read about your dream schools. Read the comeback stories on GMAT Club.

Other Info:

- Books/Materials Used: 9 MGMAT guides, OG 12th, OG 13th, GMAT QUANTUM Website videos, VR 2nd Ed, QR 2nd Ed, GMAT Prep I, GMAT Prep II, Horacio’s unique materials.

- My other threads
o gmat-appointment-scheduled-any-ideas-final-month-of-prep-123154.html
o 710-q49-v38-questions-what-to-think-134106.html

FEEL FREE TO ASK ME ANY ?s or PM. Hopefully all this hard work and perseverance will not have been for nothing – Here come the application funtivities!
Kaplan GMAT Prep Discount CodesKnewton GMAT Discount CodesManhattan GMAT Discount Codes
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Re: My GMAT Battle: 620 – 640 – 680 – 710 [#permalink] New post 29 Jul 2012, 10:24
Hey congrats,thats a great score!U've really worked hard
Did u refer to earlier OG editions?What kind of questions did u encounter during the exam,especially in quant.Which topics u feel one should stress more on in quant?
Also,did u refer the Manhattan advanced quant guide?

Thanks,
Shreeraj
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Re: My GMAT Battle: 620 – 640 – 680 – 710 [#permalink] New post 29 Jul 2012, 12:17
Big Props on the awesome score increase ! your persistence paid off !
I got the exact same score on my GMAT (620) as your first attempt.
How did you manage to improve quant from 39 to 49 ?
Congrats again!
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Quant Concept Videos : http://gmatlife.blogspot.com/2012/07/gm ... ideos.html
My GMAT Blog : http://gmatlife.blogspot.com/

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Re: My GMAT Battle: 620 – 640 – 680 – 710 [#permalink] New post 29 Jul 2012, 14:17
Congratulations on the improvement. Persistence really is important. I had the same feeling in my journey where I felt like getting a competitive score would be impossible. Glad to see you kept at it!
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Re: My GMAT Battle: 620 – 640 – 680 – 710 [#permalink] New post 29 Jul 2012, 20:11
Hey buddy, Amazing debrief! Heartiest congrats man! You're a winner in life. Guys like you motivate us to keep going irrespective of the result. Kudos to your persistence and sincerity.
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A WAY TO INCREASE FROM QUANT 35-40 TO 47 : a-way-to-increase-from-q35-40-to-q-138750.html

Q 47/48 To Q 50 + the-final-climb-quest-for-q-50-from-q47-129441.html#p1064367

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Re: My GMAT Battle: 620 – 640 – 680 – 710 [#permalink] New post 30 Jul 2012, 10:46
Congratulations man! Bravo! I take a bow on your perseverance.

Wish you the best ahead.
Cheers! :)
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Obliterated into oblivion 630 -> 540 -> A Big SOS!

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Re: My GMAT Battle: 620 – 640 – 680 – 710 [#permalink] New post 30 Jul 2012, 14:57
Thanks to all of you for your kind words. Feel free to ask/PM more questions.

shreerajp99 wrote:
Hey congrats,thats a great score!U've really worked hard
Did u refer to earlier OG editions?What kind of questions did u encounter during the exam,especially in quant.Which topics u feel one should stress more on in quant?
Also,did u refer the Manhattan advanced quant guide?

Thanks,
Shreeraj


I didn't touch any OG versions before 12th Ed. I used the 12th and 13th (new questions only) - use gmat quantum to get them and the explanations. As for questions encountered, I saw the whole spectrum of questions. I can say statistically, you should focus most on # properties, algebraic translations, and word translations. These are the most common question types and you're guaranteed to see them most often.

I worked through a good amount of the advanced sections in the quant guides, but I don't think they're imperative to break 700 or 80th% on quant.

Zynga wrote:
Big Props on the awesome score increase ! your persistence paid off !
I got the exact same score on my GMAT (620) as your first attempt.
How did you manage to improve quant from 39 to 49 ?
Congrats again!


I am not here too sell his services by any means, but I credit my tutor mostly for helping me get the huge jump in quant. His name is Horacio Quiroga and he runs Prepbuddies. If you've been through MGMAT materials, it's likely you've seen his name. I would highly recommend especially if you are considering spending $$$. He will work hard to get you where you need to be.
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Re: My GMAT Battle: 620 – 640 – 680 – 710 [#permalink] New post 30 Jul 2012, 20:11
hookemhorns612 wrote:

I am not here too sell his services by any means, but I credit my tutor mostly for helping me get the huge jump in quant. His name is Horacio Quiroga and he runs Prepbuddies. If you've been through MGMAT materials, it's likely you've seen his name. I would highly recommend especially if you are considering spending $$$. He will work hard to get you where you need to be.


So did you not study for Quant from any other material ?
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Quant Concept Videos : http://gmatlife.blogspot.com/2012/07/gm ... ideos.html
My GMAT Blog : http://gmatlife.blogspot.com/

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Re: My GMAT Battle: 620 – 640 – 680 – 710 [#permalink] New post 30 Jul 2012, 21:09
Zynga wrote:
hookemhorns612 wrote:

I am not here too sell his services by any means, but I credit my tutor mostly for helping me get the huge jump in quant. His name is Horacio Quiroga and he runs Prepbuddies. If you've been through MGMAT materials, it's likely you've seen his name. I would highly recommend especially if you are considering spending $$$. He will work hard to get you where you need to be.


So did you not study for Quant from any other material ?


Horacio runs his own prep shop which has study guides, practice problems, question banks etc. I also made sure I worked about 7 quant questions from the GMAT Prep extra question pack software each night. Those questions are great. I would spend about 30 to 40 min on this. 14 min to work all the questions and approx. 4 min average per question to review. Seems like a lot of time to work 7 questions, but this is really how you soak in lessons from problems and carry them forward.
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Re: My GMAT Battle: 620 – 640 – 680 – 710 [#permalink] New post 31 Jul 2012, 01:13
Ohhh.. great patience and courage..!! salute u buddddy for such a hard work and ur patience and a hope to get 700 +..


thats realy great..!!

I m going to give second attempt with in a month..got 500 in first attempt :(.. and studied same material that u did!! MGMAT ..OG 12 OG 10 not 13 ..
so what will u sugest me to improve my score? and ya i have startd powerscore cr to improve verbal score
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Re: My GMAT Battle: 620 – 640 – 680 – 710 [#permalink] New post 31 Jul 2012, 16:56
sanjoo wrote:
Ohhh.. great patience and courage..!! salute u buddddy for such a hard work and ur patience and a hope to get 700 +..


thats realy great..!!

I m going to give second attempt with in a month..got 500 in first attempt :(.. and studied same material that u did!! MGMAT ..OG 12 OG 10 not 13 ..
so what will u sugest me to improve my score? and ya i have startd powerscore cr to improve verbal score


I'd have to know your splits and what you feel you struggle with. If it's verbal and your scoring very low - i could most likely advise that you find a process for CR and RC questions and stick with it. Practice that process significantly and you'll see improvement. With verbal, learning your process and the traps can really turbo boost your score to a certain point. After that you have to really improve your knowledge of the concepts.

Stick at it - you will get there. If you are struggling with quant consider some personal sessions on weak areas with a cheap tutor. They can really help you improve if you get the right person.

best of luck
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Re: My GMAT Battle: 620 – 640 – 680 – 710 [#permalink] New post 02 Aug 2012, 12:20
I'm in the same boat as you Hookemhorns, currently have a score projection of 640, 640, 710 (Q42, V45)

Rewriting August end but I'm feeling very jittery as my practice tests this time are lower than last time =(

Good to read this..
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Re: My GMAT Battle: 620 – 640 – 680 – 710 [#permalink] New post 04 Aug 2012, 20:25
Chetangupta wrote:
I'm in the same boat as you Hookemhorns, currently have a score projection of 640, 640, 710 (Q42, V45)

Rewriting August end but I'm feeling very jittery as my practice tests this time are lower than last time =(

Good to read this..


Glad to help - I'm sure you will crush it!
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Re: My GMAT Battle: 620 – 640 – 680 – 710 [#permalink] New post 07 Aug 2012, 02:04
Way to go, you're an inspiration for all the struggling 600s out there. Just one quick question about Horacio's prep service. Is there any website for Horacio's prep services.

Good luck with your apps !!
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Re: My GMAT Battle: 620 – 640 – 680 – 710 [#permalink] New post 08 Aug 2012, 17:04
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mirfan2 wrote:
Way to go, you're an inspiration for all the struggling 600s out there. Just one quick question about Horacio's prep service. Is there any website for Horacio's prep services.

Good luck with your apps !!


Thanks for the kind words. Regarding Horacios services - no website. You can find him on linkedin and connect with him. If you PM me, I'll pass his info along. I know sinking $ into gmat prep is costly seeing an established website can be comforting, but his prep co is a startup. He's taught 1000s of hrs with MGMAT including private tutoring and written study guides.

Let m know if you have any other questions.
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Re: My GMAT Battle: 620 – 640 – 680 – 710 [#permalink] New post 08 Aug 2012, 23:05
Accept my heartiest congratulations and warm wishes for your school journey !!

Practice of official questions and understanding each answer is the most critical thing of our gmat prep. You have improved a lot and it shows your commitment.
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Re: My GMAT Battle: 620 – 640 – 680 – 710 [#permalink] New post 11 Aug 2012, 05:00
Congratz mate.

Any tips to conquer Verbal????
I am getting 45+ on Quants but fail to perform on verbal....!!!
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Re: My GMAT Battle: 620 – 640 – 680 – 710 [#permalink] New post 16 Aug 2012, 13:03
hookemhorns612,

I just want to say thank you so very much for your debrief. I sat for the GMAT for the 4rth time this past Tuesday, August 14th and I got a 700! I read your debrief last weekend and it gave me confidence to do well on the test. What you said about the thing is pretty accurate at measuring your level, so let it be REALLY hit home to me. It made me realize that if I am doing well on my practice tests at home, which I was, then I should also do well on the real test. My actual test day results were almost identical to the GMATPrep test I took at home three days beforehand.

I think your post is absolutely required reading for anyone trying to beat the GMAT.

Thanks again! :-D
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Re: My GMAT Battle: 620 – 640 – 680 – 710 [#permalink] New post 16 Aug 2012, 13:43
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rsampson wrote:
hookemhorns612,

I just want to say thank you so very much for your debrief. I sat for the GMAT for the 4rth time this past Tuesday, August 14th and I got a 700! I read your debrief last weekend and it gave me confidence to do well on the test. What you said about the thing is pretty accurate at measuring your level, so let it be REALLY hit home to me. It made me realize that if I am doing well on my practice tests at home, which I was, then I should also do well on the real test. My actual test day results were almost identical to the GMATPrep test I took at home three days beforehand.

I think your post is absolutely required reading for anyone trying to beat the GMAT.

Thanks again! :-D


Congrats!!! Big 70 point jump and now in contention at top B schools with that score. Best of luck with your apps and good job for sticking with it.

selfAnnihilation wrote:
Congratz mate.

Any tips to conquer Verbal????
I am getting 45+ on Quants but fail to perform on verbal....!!!


I can't quite say without knowing your background or where you're scoring, but my best rec is to work the MGMAT study guides. DONT MEMORIZE THE RULES. Get comfy applying them - you'll start to notice you just do it, especially on SC corrections where you'll immediately be able to nix a couple ACs. with CR and RC, you'll notice the improvements in identifying correct answers or incorrect answers before you even read the choice.

Best of luck
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Re: My GMAT Battle: 620 – 640 – 680 – 710 [#permalink] New post 06 Dec 2012, 07:24
Hi. Would you mind including a reference or link for how one can "study conceptually"? I appreciate your insights.
Re: My GMAT Battle: 620 – 640 – 680 – 710   [#permalink] 06 Dec 2012, 07:24
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